Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails
Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails, is the largest trail network of it’s kind in Ireland consisting of 98 km of trails including forest road climbs, tight twisty single track with loads of ups and downs, board walk, tight turns and technical rocky bits are guaranteed to leave you smiling. The trails range from the moderate 6 km Greenwood loop to the demanding Castlepook loop, over 50 km in length!
Each of the loops are way marked in one direction and are laid out as ‘stacked loops’ with each loop leading onto the next and rejoining it on the way back. Read the detailed trail information signs at the trailhead to pick the trail suitable for you. The grading system used indicates the minimum level of fitness and competence required for each loop.
Use of the trails is free but there is a 5 euro per day car park charge. Toilets, showers and bike wash facilities are also available at the car park.
Bike hire is available on site, www.trailriders.ie or in Kilmallock from www.ballyhourabikehire.com
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Green or Greenwood trail is 6 km long and will take about 30-60mins on your ability and extremely scenic trail.
Brown or Mount Russell trail is 17km long and will take about 1.5 -2.5 hours due to its more technical and physically demanding trail of climbing and descending.
White or Garrane trail is 35km long and will take approx 2.5-4.5 hours with some long, fast demanding climbs and decent, with some of the single tracks too.
Blue or Steamhill trail is 41km long and will take 3.5- 5.5 hours and builds on the Garrane trail with longer trails.
Red or Castlepook trail is 51km long will take approx 5- 6 hours and will take you right through everything these trails have to offer…so be prepared!
Cycling - Ballyhoura's Cycling Hub in Kilmallock
Route 2 – 83 kms: 5½ hours; Route 2A – 16 kms: 1 hour Route; 2B – 41 kms: 3 hours; Route 2C – 64 kms : 4+ hours
This hub has 5 looped cycle routes consisting of day and half day cycles which will guide you out to the countryside of farmland and forest surrounding the historic walled town of Kilmallock in almost traffic free lanes where you will find magnificent views of the Ballyhoura and Galty Mountains along the way, as well as ancient sites peserved in an unspoilt landscape. Bike hire can be organised from www.ballyhourabikehire.com or Go Eco - Electric Bike Hire - offer electric bikes from 1, 3 & 7 day hire and is a fun and enjoyable way to see the area with pedal and electric power. (Looks like a normal cycling bike)
Route 1 – 70 kms: 5 hours; Route 1A – 22 kms: 1½ hours
Route 1 is a circuit around the periphery of the Ballyhoura Mountains . The road follows the contours of the mountain foothills to the town of Doneraille, where there are ample opportunities for refreshment. There is one major climb on the eastern leg of the circuit; the mountain pass between Glenosheen and Glenanaar. Ascending to 307 metres you will encounter breathtaking scenery here to reward your efforts.
Route 2 is a trip east to the Glen of Aherlow. There are fine views of Seefin, the highest peak of the Ballyhouras and of Galtymore Mountain. Having negotiated the first hill at Slievereagh you arrive into the beginnings of the Glen of Aherlow where you can decide which of the shortcut options is appropriate. Continuing on into the heartland of the glen, past the villages of Galbally and Lisvarane you will finally encounter the iconic and very steep climb of Aherlow. Although not a particularly long climb, the tortuous hairpins and the magnificent views from the Christ the King statue make this “one to remember” for those who complete the entire circuit.
Route 3 – 62 kms: 4 hours
Route 3 is a leisurely spin to the amenity area at the scenic Lough Gur. The neolithic peoples who first settled there have left behind their ceremonial stone circle for us to ponder. Other castles and archaeological remains are also to be seen nearby. Nowadays you will encounter the locals strolling and enjoying a picnic. The area between Lough Gur and Knockainey is composed of short steep hills, but elsewhere on the route the gradients are gentle. The roads are quiet and relatively traffic free. Watch out for the De Valera cottage, childhood home of Ireland’s third president.
Route 4 – 70 kms: 3+ hours
Route4 is a shorter spin around some pleasant wooded hills near the townlands of Glenroe and Castle Oliver. You will pass the ornate gatehouses of the privately owned castle as you cruise along these secluded roads. Refreshments may be had at Ardpatrick or Kilfinane.
Download/View Ballyhoura Cycle Hub Map